PLANS to set up a £7m business park and motor dealership on the edge of Kendal are to be scrutinised by the district council’s planning committee today.

David Smith, the man behind the applications, estimated the business park would employ between 300 and 500 people.

He said all the space on the site on land north of Meadowbank Business Park, Shap Road, had been claimed by businesses and that there was now a waiting list.

Among the firms to have nabbed spots on the would-be business park are Gawith Hoggarth Snuff and English Lakes Ice Cream.

Mr Smith, managing director of Rayrigg Motors, which was bought out by Lloyd Motor Group earlier this year, said: “I personally think this is heaven-sent for so many businesses.

“For people who want to come into the area, there’s no new land being allocated.

“I personally think it’s one of the most exciting commercial developments that’s happened in Kendal in a very long time.”

The submission made is a hybrid application, with full permission being sought for a roundabout off the A6 to support the development, a spine road linked to the roundabout, a Kia motor dealership and a shared access road serving the site. Outline approval is being sought for the business park.

The motor dealership would comprise a main showroom, a car park with 228 spaces, including 39 with electric vehicle charging points, a 10.7m by 5.7m vehicle shelter and a 5.5m by 4m bike shelter.

Mr Smith said: “The increased traffic is going to be minimal.

“We are going to have to put a roundabout at the entrance.

“I don’t think it’s for the traffic of today, I think it’s for the traffic of tomorrow, for when the Northern Relief Road is built, because Kendal is in desperate need of having that relief road.”

An earlier version of the proposals was considered and agreed by the district council’s planning committee in October 2021, but an amended application was submitted in February 2022.

Kendal Town Council, a consultee on the plans, chose to reject the application ‘in its current form’ in October 2021.

Cllr Doug Rathbone, chairman of the town council’s planning committee and the mayor of Kendal, said: “An application that brings business to Kendal is always something that we would look positively at.

“However, it was the visible impact of the site on the edge of Kendal that was something that we originally refused it for.”

Cllr Rathbone said that ‘extremely good landscape mitigation and biodiversity net-gain’ had been included in the plans.

“We are very much in favour of that and thank the developers for creating that on-site,” he said.

In a report produced ahead of today's meeting, case officer Andrew Martin, who recommended the application for approval, said connectivity to the site would be improved by the ‘extension of the existing pedestrian/cycle route along Shap Road to the boundary of the application site’.

The proposals would also see the existing 30mph speed limit extended northwards along Shap Road.

The application site extends to an area of 6.7 hectares, 5.2 hectares of which are within the development boundary of the town, with the other 1.5 hectares extending around 50m into open countryside to the north.

"The site encompasses agricultural fields either side of a private vehicular access to Gilthwaiterigg, and a short length of the highway on the A6," said Mr Martin.

Cllr Jonathan Cornthwaite, who represents the Mintsfeet ward on Kendal Town Council, said: “In these difficult economic times, Kendal must look at welcoming any new businesses willing to invest in the area, but they must be fit-for-purpose and not overburden one area over another, and at the expense of yet more greenfield sites.

“Residents on Shap Road and Appleby Road already have concerns over the amount of traffic moving through Kendal to reach these industrial estates to the north, and all involved must strive to make it safer and easier to make these journeys by public transport, cycle or walking.”